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Variety of art on display at the NCCCA

Beekmantown art teacher June Levenson takes a photo of Best in Show artist Courtney Lester and her piece “The Criminal.”

Beekmantown art teacher June Levenson takes a photo of Best in Show artist Courtney Lester and her piece “The Criminal.” Photo by Shaun Kittle.

Levenson teaches grades 9-12 in studio art, drawing and painting, and advanced drawing and painting.

She has been teaching for 20 years, and said her favorite thing about her job is watching her students develop their skills throughout the years.

Rebecca Conklin, who teaches high school art at AuSable Valley, said that growth is inspiring to witness.

“The students are inspiring,” Conklin said. “They inspire me and I hope I inspire them as well. There’s no better career.”

Conklin has been teaching for 12 years and said quite a few of her students have moved on to continue making art as adults.

Much like Levenson, Conklin teaches her students a variety of mediums and techniques, like pottery, drawing, painting and sculpture

It is important, she said, to support creativity, as it can foster growth in other areas.

“When students have experiences with art and music, they do well in other subjects” Conklin said. “I’m glad there are opportunities for them to show their work.”

One of Conklin’s students, Emily Maicus, said she has benefitted from trying different types of art.

Even though sculpture is her favorite technique, the piece she has on display at the exhibition is two-dimensional.

It’s a woman’s face, shaped entirely using words, called “Prison of Sadness.”

“I loved the concept of doing an emotional picture,” Maicus said. “I think that, because it’s so close up, it accentuates the features.”

The title “Prison of Sadness” is part of the quote that is repeated several times in the image.

The words are long and thin as they trace the woman’s jawline, they are condensed to form bold lips and eyes, and they flutter playfully to represent her hair.

“It was something I never did before,” Maicus said. “I concentrated on it for a long time, and it led me deeper into the quote.”

Shawna Armstrong, gallery and graphics coordinator for the NCCCA, said she hopes this event will serve as a good stepping stone for students who wish to pursue art after high school.

“I’m really inpressed by the variety of work,” Armstrong said. “High schoolers aren’t just drawing any more, they’re doing ceramics, sculpture, mixed media and 2-D work. They’re really pushing the boundaries of the high school classroom.”

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